There are a lot of obligations associated with keeping a dog. One of which, is the need to take your dog on regular walks. The winter season is that period when you just want to stay indoors to enjoy the taste of hot coffee while reading a book. But walking your dog should not be avoided. It could serve as an exercise routine for both you and your four-legged friend.
We understand the difficulty of the task involved due to the inconvenient weather situation. There is also the wellbeing of the dog to think about. With the right information, you can go on these cold walks without any negative outcome. We have highlighted some tips to ensure your dog makes maximum use of such walks.
Don’t forget those boots
Ever gone out in the cold without your boots? I don’t think so. The same thing applies to your dog. It needs boots for taking walks outside. Contrary to popular perception, the paws of a dog are fragile. They need protection from the hazardous materials hidden away in the snow. There’s also the chilling weather to worry about. Unlike the rest of its body, the foot of your dog is not well covered with fur. This makes it sensitive to temperature extremes. Few with fur covering on their foot might find it difficult to walk due to the thermal capacity of fur. Winter boots designed for dogs would go a long way in dealing with both these situations.
Short walks should do
Avoid putting your dog through excessive strain. Those long walks will be more appropriate for summer. And while taking your dog for a short walk, find out if your dog is unhappy. Its actions should provide the much-needed information. If it’s shivering, holing in pain or trembling from the cold, just take it home. While walking your dog is important, it should not be undertaken to the detriment of your pooch’s health.
Your dog’s breed could be decisive
Many dog breeds have fur coats which can protect them from the chilling weather condition of the winter. Fur, a collection of body hairs, can be found in many animal species to keep moisture away from their skin while maintaining their body temperature. But there are some dog breeds with a far lower amount of body hair. If your dog belongs to this category, it will a sweater or coat. It might look ridiculous, but this will help protect it during these cold walks.
Stick to Daytime walks
Winter comes with less lightening due to the sun’s ‘lazy lifestyle’ during this period. This means you have to be extra careful to avoid accidents involving your dog. Taking your dog for its walks during the day reduces the possibilities of such incidents occurring. This is due to an improved visibility during this time of the day. Reflective clothing could help. Such clothes amplify the visibility of you and your dog to the driver of a vehicle. But nothing screens caution than sticking to the sidewalk.
Don’t let your dog ingest the snow
As tempting as the snow looks, it could cause problems for your dog if ingested. In an attempt to make the road pliable, a lot of chemicals are scattered all over the snow. Such chemicals like antifreeze are meant to make the road conducive for vehicles. The wellbeing of pets was not considered when such were produced. While there are claims of pet-friendly antifreeze products, only a few are used and such could still cause problems for your four-legged friend if ingested. Feeding your pet before it leaves your home could eliminate worries about it ingesting toxic chemicals. A well-fed dog wouldn’t have to eat what it’s not sure about.
Lookup indoor walking areas
If the condition of the weather gets worse, indoor walking areas might be your best option. Frankly, regardless of how important it is to exercise your dog, its wellbeing should always take precedence. Do not engage in outdoor walks if such could affect the safety of your dog. Before you opt for the indoor walking areas, confirm that pets are allowed into such areas to avoid disappointments.
Don’t let it roam
If you have to walk your dog in rather frozen areas, keep it under control. Dogs are energetic beings and love to play. Using a leash is one way of preventing it from wandering around.
Metallic objects can harmful
During the winter season, metallic objects become quite risky. Electric currents tend to flow through such objects and electric shocks can happen when your dog makes contact with such items. The wet surrounding complicates the situation. To prevent such unpleasant occurrences from taking placing, keep your dog away from such objects.
Clean its paws
The success of a dog walk is dependent on the condition of your dog after the exercise. If you don’t clean your dog’s paw after walking, there’s the possibility it will do it the wrong way – using its tongue. This means your dog will ingest those toxic chemicals mixed in the ice and this could affect its wellbeing. Wiping the paws of your dog using warm water immediately after a cold walk should not be taken for granted. Also, you will need to apply a pet-friendly moisturizer. This helps prevent the cracking of its foot pads – a typical occurrence after walking your dog in the cold.
Your dog can get frostbitten
Just like your body needs to maintain specific temperatures, same applies to your four-legged friend. Walking your dog in the cold jeopardizes that. This puts them susceptible to frostbites, especially around their ears and tails. If your dog has prominent ears or tails, frostbites are more likely. The affected area is sore and unsightly. Stop your dog from using its tongue on the affected spot since this can complicate the situation. Talk to your vet if your dog is frostbitten.
The winter period is a time when dog walking could be challenging. But that shouldn’t put you off this exercise. With these tips, walking your dog in the cold weather should be just another task completed. However, always put the wellbeing of your dog first.